Hospital boss backs handling

Craig Semmler is not happy about the treatment he received at Gladstone Hospital.
Craig Semmler is not happy about the treatment he received at Gladstone Hospital. Megan Mcewan

HAVING a lung collapse is bad luck. But Craig Semmler claims things got even worse when he was treated at the Gladstone Hospital six weeks ago.

The 41-year-old said after his left lung collapsed while he was at work his entire experience with Gladstone Hospital was just one error of judgement after another.

He said doctors who were working on him "stuffed" the procedure by using the wrong sized tube.

Mr Semmler said he lost a lot of blood.

"I died four times on the table because of Gladstone Hospital," Mr Semmler said.

His partner, he said, listened to doctors discuss "the mistake" outside his room.

"She heard the doctors arguing that they'd mucked it up and what were they going to do with me," he said.

Mr Semmler said his partner was told about 11am by staff to go home and she would be called if anything happened.

But when staff made the decision to fly him to Brisbane that night, she was not phoned until the next morning.

"She would have been on that plane with me coming down," Mr Semmler said.

"I could have died before she got that phone call."

Mr Semmler said the specialist he saw in Brisbane said he should have been sent to Brisbane much earlier.

"He said the person who did it (the procedure) didn't know what they were doing," he said.

After his experience with the local hospital Mr Semmler said he wouldn't go back.

Queensland Health was offering no apologies for what patient Craig Semmler believed to be a botched operation.

Gladstone Hospital's director of medical services Dr Andy Humphrey said Mr Semmler received timely and appropriate treatment from experienced senior staff based on his clinical condition.

"While the treatment is a relatively common procedure it does have a known complication rate," Dr Humphrey said.

"Clinicians in Gladstone consulted with specialists in Brisbane and it was decided to transfer the patient for further treatment at a tertiary hospital.

"That treatment was successful."

Dr Humphrey also did not believe failing to offer Mr Semmler's partner the opportunity to travel to Brisbane with him was an error of judgement.

"The transfer was arranged rapidly at 1am, and the patient's family was notified as soon as possible," Dr Humphrey said.

"As is standard in cases where complications occur, this matter will be reviewed as part of our robust safety system."


What the candidates had to say...

Liz Cunningham:

Ms Cunningham said she had contacted the hospital asking for answers in relation to how a young boy with an entire sewing needle in his foot could be turned away.

"I got a reply but it wasn't worth anything," Ms Cunningham said.

She said the hospital told her there was no radiologist on call to identify the problem. As for the boy who had his ring cut off in the hospital car park, Ms Cunningham said the "basic equipment" should have been readily available.

Russell Schroter:

"On a lot of these occasions, all the hospital is acting as is a taxi rank to Rockhampton or Brisbane," Mr Schroter said.

Having only just elected to be the Liberal National candidate for Gladstone in the state election Mr Schroter said he did not want to get ahead of himself.

"I'd certainly be working hard to try and get some funds back into the area."

He also said the Gladstone Hospital's administration should be centralised.

"Locals need a say in their hospital," Mr Schroter said.

Anthony Beezley:

"How pathetic," Mr Beezley said.

He said hospital staff were being overworked.

"We don't let truck drivers do more hours then they are supposed to ... but doctors are expected to," he said.

He said he believed it all came down to the payroll system debacle.

"The bill to fix it was four times what it was worth," Mr Beezley said.

Having personally had some bad experiences with the Gladstone Hospital, Mr Beezley said it was something, if elected, he would be focussing on.

Glenn Butcher:

Mr Butcher said from what he could gather, a lot of the errors that had led to patient complaints about the Gladstone Hospital were caused by human error.

"There is certain checks that should be done, weren't," he said.

Mr Butcher said there needed to be an investigation into why these things kept happening, and how they could be fixed.

Mr Butcher was keen to see local control return. "Part of what I'll be campaigning for is to get the administration back here in Gladstone, not Rockhampton," Mr Butcher said.

Topics:  candidates gladstone hospital state election

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